Will protection of 17% of land by 2020 be enough to safeguard biodiversity and critical ecosystem services?

Originally published in the Oryx International Journal of Conservation, 2014  Frank W. Larsen, Will R. Turner and Russell A. Mittermeier Abstract To stem the loss of biodiversity and ensure continued provision of essential ecosystem services world leaders adopted the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets in 2010, to be fulfilled by 2020. One key target (Target 11) prescribes an expansion of the global protected area system to at least 17% of land surface and 10% of oceans by 2020. Given that these targets are predominantly based on political feasibility rather than scientific evidence, it remains unclear whether fulfilment of Target 11 will suffice to safeguard biodiversity and ensure continued provision of essential ecosystem services. Despite many data gaps, in particular for ecosystem services, we can use existing global data to estimate the required protected area on land for biodiversity (a minimum of c. 17%) and biomass carbon storage (a minimum of c. 7–14% additional area to protect 75–90% of the unprotected carbon stock), which illustrates that the target of 17% of land will probably fall short in meeting these goals. As crossing thresholds or tipping points in ecosystems could trigger non-linear, abrupt change in delivery of ecosystem services, we need a science-driven understanding of how much protected, intact nature is needed to avoid unforeseen transgression of planetary boundaries. > Read the full article...

Local Scale Comparisons of Biodiversity as a Test for Global Protected Area Ecological Performance: A Meta-Analysis

Originally published via PLOS ONE | August 2014 | Volume 9 | Issue 8  Bernard W. T. Coetzee 1,2*, Kevin J. Gaston 3, Steven L. Chown 2 1 Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa, 2 School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3 Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom Figure 1. Map of the study sites by the centroid coordinates of protected areas for inside-outside pairwise comparisons (black dots; n = 71) and inside only comparisons (red dots; n = 32). Both categories include data where studies reported across clusters of protected areas. Abstract Terrestrial protected areas (PAs) are cornerstones of global biodiversity conservation. Their efficacy in terms of maintaining biodiversity is, however, much debated. Studies to date have been unable to provide a general answer as to PA conservation efficacy because of their typically restricted geographic and/or taxonomic focus, or qualitative approaches focusing on proxies for biodiversity, such as deforestation. Given the rarity of historical data to enable comparisons of biodiversity before/after PA establishment, many smaller scale studies over the past 30 years have directly compared biodiversity inside PAs to that of surrounding areas, which provides one measure of PA ecological performance. Here we use a meta-analysis of such studies (N = 86) to test if PAs contain higher biodiversity values than surrounding areas, and so assess their contribution to determining PA efficacy. We find that PAs generally have higher abundances of individual  species, higher assemblage abundances, and higher species richness values compared with alternative land uses. Local scale studies in combination thus show that PAs retain more biodiversity than alternative land use areas. >...

A recipe for balancing northern development with environmental protection

While environmentalist and industry views about Northern Australia’s development almost completely differ, it’s difficult to see how a fair balance can be struck. Conservationist and former Canadian Liberal Party candidate Harvey Locke has spent a lifetime researching how to weigh up the interests of industry and the environment, in the United States and Canada. He suggests development should focus on centers of high value industry, while making sure ecosystems remain healthy and linked. > Watch this short interview with, Harvey Locke, strategic advisor to The WILD Foundation & Nature Needs Half Transcript: JANE BARDON, REPORTER: Harvey Locke welcome to 730. HARVEY LOCKE, CANADIAN CONSERVATIONIST: Thank you. JANE BARDON: You’re basically working on a very different vision for developing or managing northern Australia, what are the key things that you’re looking for in your vision? HARVEY LOCKE, CANADIAN CONSERVATIONIST: Northern Australia is one of the great intact systems in the world. Doesn’t mean it’s in perfect shape but it’s in awfully good shape. And there are a few places like that, we have the Boreal Forest, the Ardakan, the Rocky Mountains in Northern Canada for example in a similar condition. And I’m interested in working with people who want to think about that as a spectacular opportunity in the 21st century to do things a little differently than we’ve done before. JANE BARDON: Are you looking at basically almost a chain of reserves or are you thinking some of this preservation of the tropical savannah for example could include some low impact grazing systems et cetera, as well for the cattle industry? HARVEY LOCKE, CANADIAN CONSERVATIONIST: The idea would be that...

Go WILD…For a Change

Article originally published in Sanctuary Asia magazine, February 2013, by Vance G. Martin, president of The WILD Foundation “Our climate is on steroids” is the catchy metaphor used by Dr. Gerald Meehl of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. One of those rare scientists with a flair for communication, Dr. Meehl makes a good comparison when he likens greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to steroids in the body of a champion athlete. Steroids alone do not create the champion competitor – rather, they create an enhanced environment in which other factors such as training, diet, and attitude are better able to combine to cause the effect. Similarly, while greenhouse gases in the atmosphere do lead to a rise in temperature, they also, more importantly, create an enhanced situation in which other existing phenomena such as weather patterns like La Nina/El Nino, jet stream fluctuations, etc., can interact in varied and more extreme ways to create what is called climate change.   While this metaphor is apt, it only describes the condition we face, not the cause of it. In response, you might say that the cause of climate change is the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That is the physical cause, yes, but of course there is something deeper that we need to address, i.e., the human activities that fuel the release of these greenhouse gases, which in turn hasten climate change. Actions such as political awareness, legislation and policy are important, but they still only address the symptoms. If we want to cure the condition, we need to address its cause. To get to the root of this situation (and subsequently create a more effective solution), let’s shift our metaphor to one of illness and cure. The human race is addicted to growth, greed, and...
Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why It Matters

Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why It Matters

  The North American Boreal Forest has been dubbed “North America’s Bird Nursery” due to its impressive role in supporting migratory birds. The statistics are astonishing:   –  Between 1-3 billion birds representing more than 300 species flock to the boreal each spring to find summer nesting habitat. –  Once the young have hatched, 3-5 billion birds migrate back south toward their winter habitat—many as close as the U.S. and some as far south as the Tierra del Fuego. –  More than 1 billion of these birds become common wintering birds that can be found throughout the U.S. This new scientific report takes a closer look at this amazing relationship and what we can do to preserve the hundreds of species that intimately rely on this vast, mostly-intact forest. To provide birds the best fighting chance of surviving the duel threats of habitat loss and climate change, at least half of the boreal forest should be protected from industrial development. This continues the ever-growing research concluding that larger, interconnected protected areas are necessary in order to maintain our planet’s amazing collection of biodiversity.   Please visit the Boreal Songbird Initiative website for photos, maps, other supporting graphics, and more information. >> And you can read the full report here: Report: Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why It Matters    Featured cover image: © Morgan...
Space for Nature: Zoological Society of London

Space for Nature: Zoological Society of London

The Zoological Society of London   – the world’s oldest and most renowned conservation science organization, working in over 50 countries – has joined with WILD to explore and illustrate how Nature Needs Half is both necessary and possible. “Space for Nature,” a video created by the Zoological Society of London (with participation from The WILD Foundation & Nature Needs Half), explores how the Nature Needs Half vision can be realized in practice by setting aside space for...
Page 5 of 17« First...34567...10...Last »